Arthritis can be debilitating. In fact, arthritis and rheumatoid conditions are the leading cause of disability among US adults for the past 15 years. So when your doctor is assessing your spine and joints and makes mention of ‘normal degenerative changes,’ that should be a clue to find another doctor.
There’s nothing normal about arthritis and join degeneration. For your body to be in an active destruction of a joint, especially when not trauma induced, there’s a whole mess of ‘not normal’ going on.
The major problem with traditional healthcare is that they see the arthritic changes and resultant pain as the problem. I would argue they are the effect of many other processes in your body giving you a repeated fighting chance of survival and a breaking point happens. But for 98% of us, it’s not random chance and we’re not part of the unlucky club.
There are 3 ‘I’s’ that your primary or rheumatologist fail to address when assessing and treating arthritis. Actually, they talk a lot about one of them, but their solutions actually cause more imbalance and worsen the condition long term.
Your rheumatologist may compartmentalize your gut as just a function of digestion. And if that’s the case, find a new doctor. The point being is that your gut is one of your first line of defenses in your immune expression. This is mediated through an expression of one of your immunoglobulins, SIgA (Secretor IgA).
This post is for all those fatties out there. You know who I’m talking about…fatty, fatty, fat, fat. Yeah, I called you fat, look at me I’m skinny. Never stopped me from getting…slapped in the face. Before you turn this off or post negative comments, hear me out for 3 seconds.
Being fat is a sign of extreme, high-level intelligence. Yes, that’s right. When you are assessing that booty and belly shake in the mirror, don’t think disgusting. Think Einstein, Hawking, or even Dwight K. Schrute.Being fat is a sign of extreme, high-level intelligence. Click To Tweet
Your body NEVER does stupid stuff. It always gives you the absolute best chance of surviving the next 30 seconds, even if it’s at the expense of your next 30 years.
Why would the body take excess energy substrate and convert it to fat? Because it’s the preferred fuel for your brain and body to operate. Animals that go into hibernation are living off their fat stores. Humans don’t hibernate but there is (or was) a great possibility that we would go without food for a lengthy time.
If you are being treated for high blood pressure, I’m sure you’ve been told to watch your sodium intake. The traditional medical theory is that since you consume too much sodium, your body is so defective that it doesn’t know what to do with it, so it holds onto the sodium. And if you’re holding onto too much sodium, you will then unfortunately hold onto fluid. And if you are holding onto fluid, this makes your heart work harder, thus raising blood pressure. And if you don’t get that lowered, you’re going to die…like yesterday.
This all sounds good and logical…except that it isn’t. Well not exactly. Yes, sodium retention will create fluid retention which can create blood pressure elevation. But your body has too many checks and balances to just let sodium hang around from dietary intake.
The part that contradicts the notion that you need a low sodium diet is that your body never does stupid stuff. If your body is holding onto sodium to raise blood pressure, then there’s a very important reason. And that reason is because you are attempting to escape something that is potentially or perceived as dangerous (whether you are aware of it or not).
Sodium is a major player in the communication signals from the adrenals to the kidneys. If you’re in danger, those signals will create the retention of sodium so that there’s an end game expression of an increase in blood pressure. If you cannot get your blood pressure elevated to pump blood filled with all the nutrients and hormones necessary to engage muscle and nervous system activity to escape the danger, you’re done…like yesterday.
The general population experiences daily dangers from sitting too much, adverse childhood experiences that are unresolved, the Standard America Diet (not just salt intake), and staying employed at a job that is hated to earn money to impress people that aren’t liked, to buy stuff that isn’t even wanted. Just because you don’t have an immediate deadline doesn’t mean you aren’t stressed.
If you were a child of the 80s and 90s like myself, you will remember this commercial. “This is your brain. This is drugs. This is your brain on drugs. Any questions?”
With the ever rising incidences and diagnoses for ADHD, Autism, Depression, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s and nothing to resolve them in the medical world, I think we can change the 80s drug slogan to make it more applicable for today. After all, the more we ‘early diagnose and manage/treat’ a condition, the more disability associated with that condition rises. The best case scenario your doctor provides is to ‘manage’ the symptoms.
But here’s the reality. Symptoms aren’t stupid. Your body never does anything stupid. Symptoms are nothing more than your attempts at buying time to escape what is potentially dangerous or harmful. That potential danger could be something you ate, a lack of movement, a poor relationship, or chemical influence. One of those symptoms is inflammation, regardless of the condition or disease process.
“This is your brain. This is inflammation. This is your brain on inflammation. Any questions?”
If there’s a commonality of brain inflammation to all these mental/emotional conditions, then how does the brain get inflamed? Don’t think of inflammation as an isolated event. Inflammation is a byproduct of an immune response due to trauma. And again, don’t look at trauma as just an event. Trauma is a persistent pattern of dysfunction. It could be physical, chemical, or emotional/social/spiritual.
Our immune system (inflammation) gets activated for 2 main reasons.
This is more of a ‘random thoughts’ post. It’s not lengthy, but hopefully one to get you thinking a bit differently about heart disease and a way to improve your risk assessment, if not for you, for a loved one.
Why do we call heart disease, ‘heart disease?’ We don’t call a car accident, ‘excessive tire tracking.’ Imagine if we did treat a car accident like we do heart disease. Yes, there is an immediate need at the scene to make sure everyone is safe and traffic doesn’t get too backed up but then an investigation happens looking at the series of events that lead to ‘excessive tire tracking.’
There could be texting, speed, substance abuse, deer, or a faulty traffic light. But policy isn’t made regarding the effect of the accident, the presence of tire tracks. Policy is made to reduce the root causes of the accident.
With heart disease, the standard of care is to label the scene of the accident, call that the cause, and design national campaigns and policy regarding that finding. You have high blood pressure. You have clogged arteries. You have thick blood. You should be screened.
Yet, we ignore the tell tale signs that a heart event is on the horizon. We know things like inflammation and insulin resistance are major risk factors affecting the heart. But those are rarely quantified until after the heart event has hit.
Our healthcare system lacks the investigation. And the more we try and boost heart health and early detection of heart problems, the more heart disease rises. This happens for every diagnosis. Cancer is an effect. Diabetes is an effect. Arthritis is an effect. Yes, the current health expression may need immediate attention but that treatment doesn’t ever work to create health. So I’m proposing we change the name of heart disease to something like ‘liver overload syndrome.’
I have a number of pet peeves. For those that know me really well, you know I can go from zero to maximum irritability in 0.2 seconds when I see random shopping carts in a major retail parking lot. If I see you NOT put it away, even though the cart return is only 3 spaces away from your car, I’m ready to punch a hole in your car. I’m considering creating a personality assessment and job interview process centered around your shopping cart etiquette. If you can’t push a Costco cart without walking half bent over, leaning on the cart, you’re not even getting an interview.
For the sake of this post, your shopping cart habits are none of my business…unless you don’t put it away. But a more pertinent pet peeve of mine are the analogies surrounding genetics. I’m sure you’ve heard them and you thought they were clever and didn’t even question them. Hopefully these become pet peeves of yours as well.
Your DNA is NOT a Loaded Gun
Breakfast vs. Dessert
On my initial intake paperwork for people, I have the potential client list out their food items. Under more investigation of the ingredients of those foods, I vote that breakfast is the most important meal…to skip entirely.
Think about it. Why is chocolate milk a ‘health food,’ great for recovery but chocolate ice cream will send you to an early grave? Please don’t hit reply with, ‘that’s why I just let my ice cream melt and call it a smoothie.’ I’ve already used that line.
What’s the big deal? The big deal is that in case you hadn’t seen it this week, the NY Times ran a column called, ‘How the Sugar Industry Shifted Blame to Fat.’
A friend of mine passed an article to me from The Wall Street Journal. It was an article about how stress raises cholesterol. My initial mental reaction was, ‘Duh, what have I been talking about for the past 10 years?’ Teaching moment: Pride comes before the fall.
I was all proud of myself that I was ahead of the curve from a major publication. As I looked for the references in The Wall Street Journal article, one was from back in 1958. This information that lifestyle (not just bad bugs, bad luck, or bad genes) affects health outcomes was being quantified 20 years before I was born. More specifically, they were looking at how stress affects cholesterol and blood clotting.
The 1958 study was titled ‘Changes in the Serum Cholesterol and Blood Clotting Time in Men Subjected to Cyclic Variation of Occupational Stress.’ It is published in the journal Circulation by the American Heart Association. The intro to the study states the following:
Accountants were selectively chosen as a self-controlled group for studying effects of cyclic occupational stress upon serum cholesterol and blood clotting time, since their routine work schedule is interrupted by urgent tax deadlines, associated with severe occupational stress. Forty male accountants (age 28 to 56) were bled biweekly for serum cholesterol and monthly for blood clotting time from January to June 1957. Complete records also were kept of weight, exercise, diet, relative work load, and any exposure to unusual avocational stress. When studied individually, each subject’s highest serum cholesterol consistently occurred during severe occupational or other stress, and his lowest at times of minimal stress. The results could not be ascribed to any changes of weight, exercise, or diet. Marked acceleration of blood clotting time consistently occurred at the time of maximum occupational stress, in contrast to normal blood clotting during periods of respite. The possible implications of these results are discussed in relation to the problem of clinical coronary artery disease.
In the chart above, group A are ‘tax’ accountants. Group B is made up of ‘corporate’ accountants. These are plots of cholesterol levels tested in 2 week intervals from January to June. Of particular interest is that the corporate accountants had higher cholesterol levels and a higher reported stress level in January than in April. But overall, it’s evident the spike in cholesterol correlates with the as the April 15 tax deadlines.
If you’ve been reading for a while, you know I harp on inflammation a lot. I’ve mentioned inflammation coming from the immune system, your belly fat, and even your liver. Another source of inflammation that can cause your body to keep cycling in protection mode and away from growth and recovery are your levels and ratios of Omega fats.
We have all heard of Omega 3 being good for us. You will see commercials advertising Omega 3 supplements and I’m seeing more and more, medicine-first minded MDs even telling their patients to start taking fish oil.
Why are Omega 3 fats so good for you? Omega 3 fats are extremely important in the structure and function of every cell in the body. The function of your cells is what determines your health. Your cells are what determines your immune function, healing, hormone levels, heart function, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, digestion, moods etc. Literally, the function and health of your cells determines every aspect of your health.
Think of Omega 3s like your bouncer at your favorite club (your cell membrane). You want strong bouncers to keep the riff raff out of the club. If I showed up to be your bouncer, you would laugh, push me to the side, and the club would be in shambles. All hell would break loose and the club owner would have to spend a lot of time and money to repair all the damage (inflammation) that could have been prevented with bigger, stronger bouncers.
One of the problems is that when people jump on the Omega 3 bandwagon, they supplement with either an inferior type or not enough of the good type.
Me being a bouncer at your club would be the inferior type of Omega 3. Most often, this comes in the form of flax seed or vegetable based omega 3s. There’s nothing wrong with them. They provide a type of omega 3 (Alpha-Linolenic Acid) but what the body requires and craves the most are omega 3s in the form of EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). EPA and DHA would be the 6’6″, 245 lbs bouncer that is also a blackbelt in all martial arts, a trained sniper, and expert hostage negotiator.
I could try and train to become those things and pack on the mass but it will be a lengthy process, not serve your immediate needs, and most likely not serve your long term needs. In other words, the body has the capability of converting ALA to EPA and DHA. The problem is that even though the body can do those things, there’s a limitation to the amount of how much EPA and DHA can be produced just from an ALA source alone.